Completed Projects

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Traction Power Substation #9

​​Leigh Brinkley, Artist, Charlotte, NC

Number 9

​3M graphic film and paint


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Traction Power Substation #9 ​​Leigh Brinkley, Artist, Charlotte, NC

CATS located its Substation #9 in the historic district of Atherton Mills in 2015 and shortly thereafter Leigh Brinkley was commissioned to mitigate the visual impact of the substation.  She was asked to work with CATS and a representative from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources due to the location.  Brinkley met the challenge by using trompe l'oeil – a style of art treatment to fool the eye into believing a new three-dimensional reality.  ​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Traction Power Substation #9 ​​Leigh Brinkley, Artist, Charlotte, NC

New South entrepreneur Daniel Augustus Thompkins (1851-1914) built the Atherton Cotton Mills on this site.  Finished in 1893, the mill utilized the latest textile making technology.  The textile mill provided a critical boost to the early growth of the adjoining Dilworth neighborhood.  Thompkins also built nearby housing for mill workers and a school for their children.  A thriving mill village developed in the area.

Today, the Atherton Mill building serves a new role in the South End.  The TPSS is wrapped with a photo image of the historic mill building in order to create a unified architectural aesthetic, resembling a separate building that served as a mill office.  The art transforms a mundane structure into an object of interest for the community and its visitors.    

Leigh Brinkley holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina, as well as a commercial art degree.  Since opening Brinkley Design in 1985, she has been responsible for leading the nationally recognized firm in identity and environment graphic design. In addition to her work as a public artist and graphic designer, Brinkley serves as a guest lecturer at local college and university art and design programs.